After AFGE advocacy, the Department of the Army ends forced contract and limitations on workers’ rights.
Fairbanks, Alaska- Department of the Army workers who are union members of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Locals 1834 and 1712 have successfully pushed back against union-busting and attacks on their workplace rights.
The two locals represent professional and non-professional staff at military posts across Alaska. Local 1834 represents staff, including emergency medical services personnel, at Fort Greely and Fort Wainwright in the Fairbanks area. Local 1712 represents staff at Fort Richardson in the Anchorage area.
In 2019, the Army unilaterally limited the time Local 1834 union representatives could spend representing employees. Last year, the agency imposed a contract without agreement from AFGE members at facilities represented by Local 1834 and Local 1712, in violation of the law.
AFGE filed several Unfair Labor Practice Charges (or ULPs) with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) regarding both decisions. After three and a half years of fighting, on the day before both cases were to go to court, U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK) Commander Major General Brian Eifler agreed to settle both cases accepting all terms with the FLRA and union, instituting the FLRA’s changes, restoring the rights of Army employees represented by the union, and accepting fault.
The Army is returning to union representational time guidelines for AFGE Local 1834 that had been agreed upon prior to 2019. They have also rescinded the contracts for Local 1834 and Local 1712 that had been illegally implemented in 2022, returning to the previously agreed upon contract and committing to bargaining with the union in good faith on a new contract.
Handshake: image courtesy of geralt via Pixabay, www.pixabay.comWhile the rollback of both the forced contract and the limitation of union representational time for union representatives is a major win for federal workers at Department of Army facilities across Alaska, both locals are still fighting the anti-union policies implemented by the previous administration, including the eviction of the union from all three Army posts.
Despite an executive order by President Biden reversing those policies issued by the previous administration, the union has not been returned to any of their offices at any of the three Army posts in Alaska.
“The agency tried to take out the chief negotiator of the union. They tried to wipe out the union, and it didn’t succeed,” AFGE Local 1834 President Bill Ward said. “It wasn’t because of one person. It was because of all the officers and the activists within the local that kept us alive for three and a half years since September of 2019. Even though we continue to fight the ongoing implementation of Trump’s executive orders and the willful ignoring of Biden’s executive orders by the Army, this is a big win for employees and the union.”
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